Moxie Season

The Moxie Boy wants you to drink Moxie!

The Moxie Boy wants you to drink Moxie!

Moxie is a distinctly different soft drink that was once more popular than Coca-Cola, or Pepsi. Now, it’s an iconic regional soft drink with a cult-like fan base and a festival in its honor.

For the uninitiated, the Moxie Festival occurs the second weekend in July, just like it has been now for the past 30 years. The place is Lisbon Falls, the town where I grew up and still live across the Androscoggin River from.

Moxie is a familiar product and has been for me since I was a small tyke. Like many Mainers that move away, I went through a period when Moxie fell off my radar. Moving back to the state in the late 1980s, I’m sure I did what many expats do when they return to their beloved home state—they stop at some store, see the iconic Moxie label and remember something special—most likely from their youth—and quaff a cold gentian root-laced Moxie for the first time in years.

After being back and transplanting roots, I got involved with the group of volunteers that make up the committee that puts on the festival each year. This was 2004, right around the time that I was beginning what would become my first book, about town team baseball in Maine.

Those two years of festival involvement, helping with PR and marketing, provided a sort of Moxie “immersion” that led to my second book being about Moxie, of course. The success of that book led to having a national publisher come calling and asking me if I’d like to do a Moxie book with them. Well of course!

The funny thing for me, having lived Moxie for almost a decade, is how little most people know about Moxie and the logistics of Moxie; the history, the festival, the history of the festival, some of the local characters, etc. It’s been fun sharing that with others, including those in my family.

My second book about Moxie is still selling and in fact, I have some autographed copies available for anyone that wants to drop me a line and I’ll be sure to get them out to you. I know sometimes people have had trouble getting copies, and for some reason, they like my John Hancock on them. As Moxie season heats up, I even have an assortment of speaking dates on my docket in July.

My second book about Moxie, published by Down East Books

My second book about Moxie, published by Down East Books

I’m not involved with the festival, at least not on the planning side. That’s now the domain of my sister, Julie-Ann. She’s become the Moxie evangelist and is in charge of this year’s Moxie Recipe Contest. Julie-Ann’s brought some new life to this aspect of the festival. I’m still operating on the periphery of Moxie this year, however. I’ll be one of the celebrity judges on Friday night at Chummy’s as a group of us (including The Yankee Chef) will be sampling a variety of Moxie concoctions and recipes. Saturday, I’m thinking seriously about doing the Moxie 5K race on Saturday morning, something I’ve never participated in. Given that this is my year of fitness, it makes sense to run, hit the parade, and maybe chug a cold Moxie and catch up with old friends.

This is all part and parcel of what for me makes it official; it is now Moxie Season!

4 thoughts on “Moxie Season

  1. An opportunity to preach some Moxie! Thank you, I think I will!

    Don’t forget the fireworks on Friday night! Did someone say music? The Bath Municipal Band will play a traditional prelude to the fireworks. A variety of bands will perform on the Midtown Plaza stage both before and after the fireworks, courtesy of Tom Dube at Dube’s Music.

    The New England Moxie Congress will bring their own distinctly different passion for Moxie to town on Saturday in the form of planes, lobster, and automobiles.

    Did I forget to mention The Moxie Car Show? Yessss, I did. Sponsored in part by members of the Lisbon Class of 1982 (Yay!), you can get your motor running to the sounds of rumbling Detroit iron on Sunday.

    I have left many wonderful and distinctively different events off this short list but have no fear…I have fifteen or so more days to preach it.

    Someone get me a Moxie!!

    • You go, Moxie girl!! Nice synopsis.

      There really is so much more than the parade (which is huge and a great event, of course) and downtown. I think what I’ve noticed about the evolution of the Moxie Festival, since 2004, is that it now has expanded and there are plenty of things beyond merely the parade and standing around on Main Street from 9:00 to Noon.

      I’ll be judging Moxie recipes Friday night, getting my fireworks fix (on the Durham side of the river from my secret location) on, running the road race on Saturday and seeing everyone at the parade, etc. I imagine I’ll have to get over and take a peek at the cars on Sunday and pay homage to Happy Motoring back in the day.

      Preach it, indeed!

  2. The fascination with Moxie amazes me. It’s definitely nostalgic, but it seems more than that now.

    Your book is a nice introduction to Moxie. I’m a fan and I have two of Frank Potter’s books. I missed out on picking up on Moxietown but got the latest one last year at the Moxie festival. Nice job on the history and as you wrote in the introduction, I can see why you wanted to connect Moxie and Lisbon Falls. Most of my friends think Moxie was invented in the town.

    The book solves the Christmas/birthday conundrum for the Moxie fans in my life.

    • Thanks, Pilgrim. I’ve heard that “Moxie: Maine in a Bottle” makes a great birthday/Christmas gift for the Moxie fans in anyone’s life.

      Yes, connecting Moxie to Lisbon Falls was important to me. So much misinformation about Moxie and its history. Other than Q. David Bowers and Frank Potter and their efforts, both of whom I’ve drawn upon, there isn’t a good source for the “truth about Moxie.”

      The first chapter was my attempt to distill the history of Moxie into 5,000 words. If for no other reason, anyone interested in Moxie’s staying power should own the book for that one chapter.

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